Chris Weimer wrote:You have made an assertion based on faith, yet you give no evidence for it at all.
I can't speak for Bert or Rhuiden, but there is evidence out there for those who wish to analyze it. For example, you could look at those who believe and follow the teachings of the Bible and compare their lives (in terms of things that matter to you) to the lives of those people who do not believe or do not follow the teachings of the Bible. It doesn't lend itself to traditional science because people would never agree on the measures of a "good life," but certainly an individual could make the judgement of what he/she thinks constitutes a good life for him/herself.
I would submit that if after doing this analysis one were to conclude that believing in and following the Bible leads to a better life (however one may define it) then that would be evidence (though not necessarily proof) that would support the position of faith.
Interesting statements: "...you could
look at those...." Yes, one "could," but that action is still hypothetical. "if
after doing this analysis, one were
to conclude...." Again, hypothetical. What you are doing, as I see it, is defining the term "evidence," and that's all. Because if no one did those things you hypothesized them as doing, then no "evidence" would exist. And conversely, when someone does do those things, as you undoubtedly have (otherwise you wouldn't mention it), then the "evidence" does exist, as least for that person. And so very much depends on one's definition of "a good life." I suppose that means, for me, anyway, being happy, having a feeling of well-being, a feeling of well-being that comes with financial abundance, good physical health, excellent relationships, creating and living the life that I want, having ever-expanding freedom to do what I want when I want how I want, growing in awareness of love and beauty by focusing my attention only on what evokes the feeling of love in me and a greater appreciation of beauty -- and, of course, feeling the Divine Presence, the Love Heat of Divine Energy that renews me, uplifts me, sustains me, comforts me, nurtures me, accepts me as I am and encourages me to be more, adventures with me, laughs with me, and is always (although I am still not often consciously aware of it) part of my life experiences.
Actually, I used to be a devout Christian but am not now (well, since I was baptized and confirmed, I suppose that means according to various (not all) Christian theologies, I will always be a Christian per se, but I don't consider myself a Christian now because I no longer believe that Jesus Christ is my savior or that we are born in sin or that we need a savior -- which is the basis of the gospel.
I guess I have a pantheistic view -- that everything, from particle to universe, is the expression of God/Goddess/All-That-Is and has self-consciousness or Self-consciousness. My physical body is the expression in physical form of my non-physical body which is the expression of the point of Divine Light (Love and Thought) that I AM. All-That-Is is having an adventure through me (and everybody else and every being, from ant to orchid to ocean to a necklace of pearls to a molecule to a mountain to a solar system to a galaxy to an alien life form, etc. etc. etc.). As each being experiences life, so does All-That-Is through that being, and expands in consciousness from the experience. As we grow, so does All-That-Is, even though the paradox is that All-That-Is is already all that is. Paradox is part of Divine Being.
We become aware of our intimate connection with our Higher Self (Soul, whatever you want to call it) -- that part of us that is our nonphysical expression of Divine Being -- by thinking, saying, and doing things that give us pleasure, happiness, joy. We cut off the flow of Divine Energy to us when we think, say, or do things that cause us discomfort. Our emotions are our guidance system.
Dying is not dying at all. It is us leaving our physical body to continue life in nonphysical form, a life that is full of joy and creativity and discovery. There are many books written on this subject and many websites that deal with this, so I won't go into detail here. You might want to take a look at the trilogy by Robert A. Monroe (Journeys Out of the Body
) to become more familiar with one man's experiences while he was out of his physical body.
Anyway, I am far happier now that I have dropped all those psychologically unhealthy beliefs that are part of Christian doctrine: I am a sinner. I am not worthy (which Catholics say several times during mass). I have to be saved, and everyone else does, too. I must do my Christian duty even though I feel emotional discomfort when I do, because I am doing those activities as a "duty," not as a pleasure. Only Christians will "go to heaven." Everybody else will either go to hell (doctrine of many conservative evangelical Christians) or, acc. to my understanding of the modern Roman Catholic catechism, risk the possibility of going to hell. What a burden these beliefs can be, esp. if one believes that one has to do "good works" as a part of one's faith. The emphasis for many Christians, from what I have observed, is on "has to," duty, moral obligation, with tremendous pressure from one's peer group to "live up to the faith." Such guilt devout Christians feel when they do not do that. Have to repent and ask God for forgiveness again and again. I know from personal experience (when I was a Christian) that one does feel forgiven and renewed, that the Christian belief system does work, that many Christians feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, of God. It's just that I have learned, too, that one does not need to be a Christian, with all that entails, in order to experience the Divine Presence and to live a happy life.
As a non-Christian (I call myself "spiritual but not religious), I, too, still feel the Presence of the Divine. I, too, have my prayers answered. I, too, have experienced miracles in my life. I have a "good life." I meditate one or two hours a day: Transcendental Meditation twice a day, two 15-minute breathing meditations, which I learned from the "Abraham" book and CD called Getting Into the Vortex
by Esther and Jerry Hicks, meditations that I do to quiet my mind's chatter, to increase my communication with my Divine Self, and to release resistance to the flow of that Divine Energy ("Let go and let God" as Joel S. Goldsmith, an American mystic, used to say), and a meditation once a day listening to a CD by Lazaris (pronounced luh-ZAH-riss) published by Concept: Synergy. I also alter my state of consciousness and "sit" with my Higher Self several times every day. When I do, I receive and feel what I call the warmth of Divine Love; what Christians would probably call the Holy Spirit. I bask
in that Divine Love and am energized and renewed by it. I am much happier now, being free of Christian beliefs. I do the things that make me feel happy. As Seth said (as I recall, in Conversations with Seth
by Susan Watkins), "If you don't enjoy doing it, STOP!" and "Doing the things that you enjoy will lead your self to your Self."
I feel very attracted to those who love God, for they and I have that in common, and that love is the central aspect of my life, just as it is theirs. It's just that I no longer need the Bible for guidance, for I am guided by my emotional guidance system, which in turn is guided by my Higher Self, who is Who I AM eternally, a part of Source, of God/Goddess/All-That-Is, who always loves me personally, unconditionally, and always grants whatever I ask for -- although that does not manifest in physical form until I have released enough resistance to allow it to manifest, resistance in the form of fears, doubts, anxieties, worry, anger, irritation, envy, unhappiness, as well as resistant beliefs, like "It'll never happen" or "I don't think it'll work"). We get in life what we focus our attention on. If I hate something, I attract it to myself. If I fear something, I attract it to myself. If I am angry at something ("Fight AIDS," "Fight cancer," "I am against pollution," "I am against this," "I am against that"), I am helping to increase its power simply by continuing to think about it, to talk about it, to give speeches about how terrible it is and how much we need to change it.
The way to get the positive experiences and things one wants, to attract them into one's life, is to focus on the positive aspects and ignore the negative aspects. One does not need to work for peace; one simply needs to "let go and let God." The flow of the universe is always in a positive direction. By relaxing and letting go (of worries, doubts, etc.), one floats with the current of Divine Well-Being, toward an increased sense of well-being, toward a greater awareness of Divine Love. Human nature is not evil, corrupt, sinful. It is good, Divine, loving. We are good by nature. Of course, we have to choose to BELIEVE that in order to come to experience it. We create our reality according to our thoughts and beliefs, emotions and attitudes, and choices and decisions, using the "tools" of imagination, expectation, and desire. We are co-creators with the Divine; we are the Divine creating joyful adventures of life.